Home Built 1840's

Will be inspecting a home built in the 1840’s. That are some problem area’s that other inspectors have found? It has updated HVAC and is two story.

Hi Charles,

Without knowing a lot more about the property it is a bit difficult to guess… but here’s my list to think about.

  • Foundation issues: field stone?
  • Structure: Timber (post & beam) or masonary?
  • Roofing: Current covering will not be what structure was designed for.
  • Mechanical systems: when built the home had none.
  • General: the home will be on at least its 3rd major renovatiion
    This ain’t inspection, it’s archeology

Call me if you need help.



Almost all of the early 1800’s houses I’ve seen have “lally posts” supporting the floor joists. These posts are supported in turn by the concrete floor with no footer underneath. If these posts are present it indicates a need for additional support for the house, but the concrete basement floor does not have the strength to do this. Small cracks emanating from under these posts will soon be come large cracks and ultimately fail the support.

You should determine the need for “lally posts”–there could be some serious decline in the structural integrity.


I love getting into H/I’s that give me a chance to look at the antiques in Home Construction.

In my preliminary discussions with my potential Client, we discuss the limitations of my services on a structure like this one.

I recommend they hire at least a structual engineer, along with my services or at least don’t be surprised when I recommend further investigation by a specialist in structual engineering, in my report. I have good working knowledge in a lot of area’s, but I’m smart enough not to hang myself. I have worked with a lot of clients, and without exception, they have/will appreciate your honesty about your capabilities and services. I have been lucky in acquiring a lot of repeat clientelle, and it’ s been told to me, its because of my honesty and forthrightness.

I always say, sell yourself first, then your services, and the rest will take care of itself.

Keep reading the posts, you will get a lot of good technical advise, etc. But use your common sense, and know your skills and your limitations.


Older homes are similar to any other.

Additional examples…


Maybe contact the History or Discovery Channel! or This Old House Magazine?

All the homes around here in the early 1800’s were buffalo hide exterior wall covering over conventional portable wood pole construction.

Jae, are lally posts the fix or is the fix additional support under existing lally posts and the inadequate concrete floor supporting them? Do you have any photos of lally posts?